“Signs of Life”

Jesus’ resurrection takes place against a backdrop of grief and despair. As the world grapples with war, mass shootings, and disasters—natural and man-made—we must reflect on how the sadness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday reveals—on Easter—a king who came to save us, not through power and might but through scars and tears. Our tears are our signs of life. In the Easter story, they are a sign of the new life Jesus offers; the new hope he embodies now that he has taken our sorrow to the grave. One day every tear will be wiped away. This is how the hope of God shows up time and again, in scripture and today, through the ups and downs of life. It shows up in our brokenness, tears and scars. It reminds us that the kingdom of God is now and not yet; it has arrived and yet we also ache as we watch the pictures on our TV screens, of wars, famines and disasters, and wait for its fulfilment. Even though Mary’s reunion with the risen Lord was perhaps not how she might have imagined it, she proclaimed: “I have seen the Lord” and, in doing so, became a bearer of good news. So must we also.

First Reading: Romans 6:1-11—Dying and Rising with Christ

1 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may increase? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, so we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading: John 20:1-18—The Resurrection of Jesus

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’s head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed, for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and she told them that he had said these things to her.